The alternative to wpa_supplicant

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As of December 2020, there is an alternative to wpa_supplicant. It works. It’s called iwd, iNet Wireless Daemon, and you can use it on Debian systems today.

Now, if you use Linux and you’ve never heard of wpa_supplicant before, you are a lucky person. Starting some weeks ago, all my videoconferences got interrupted after a few minutes, ping said "not today", and I was sad. Looking at the the logs I could always see lines like this, a few seconds before the connection dropped:

Nov 30 18:56:36 orion wpa_supplicant[728]: wlan0: CTRL-EVENT-SIGNAL-CHANGE above=1 signal=-50 noise=9999 txrate=115600

I am however sitting very close to the access point, and my laptop is the only device in the house having issues. So I blame wpa_supplicant. Suddenly iwd came to mind, a project I had heard about at All Systems Go! 2019. Here is the video of the talk.

Here’s how it goes:

apt install iwd
systemctl enable iwd

As you don’t want to see wpa_supplicant ever again, mask its unit:

systemctl mask wpa_supplicant

Then you need to tell Network Manager to use iwd as a supplicant, which boils down to adding the following to /etc/NetworkManager/NetworkManager.conf:


Reboot. Rejoice! wpa_supplicant is gone and your wifi connection is up nonetheless. My connection stayed up for the whole duration of a meeting. I am a happy man.